Volkswagen South Africa has confirmed the local launch of the new Golf 8 GTI has been pushed back to 2021.

When the eighth-generation version of the Wolfsburg-based firm’s midsize hatchback was revealed in October 2019, VW SA said it planned to launch the range locally with the new GTI in the final quarter of 2020.

However, thanks to delays caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic, VW SA tells CARmag.co.za the launch has now been pushed back to the first quarter of 2021.

In addition, deliveries of the Golf 8 in Europe have reportedly been halted over a software glitch, although it's not clear whether this will have an impact on units destined for South Africa.

As a reminder, the new Golf 8 GTI was unveiled (alongside the Golf 8 GTD) at the end of February 2020, sporting fresh styling, extra power and a quicker-shifting DSG transmission.

As before, the new GTI draws its urge from a version of VW’s familiar EA888 engine. Here, though, the turbocharged 2,0-litre, four-cylinder petrol unit has been tuned to deliver 180 kW (up from the SA-spec Golf 7 GTI’s peak output of 169 kW) and 370 N.m (some 20 N.m more than the outgoing model).